Gerry's Life



Attended St Vincent's School for the Deaf, Glasgow from the age of 3.

At age 13 transferred to St John's School for the Deaf, Boston Spa, Yorkshire 

Struggled to learn to read and write until the age of 15. 

Attended Norfolk House, 6th Form College in Surrey in 1975. 

Attended Langside College, Glasgow, in 1979.

During 1975 to 1981, played for and captained Surbiton Deaf Football Club, Surrey, then moved to play for St Vincent’s Deaf Football club, Glasgow, winning the Scottish Deaf Football Cup, the British Deaf Football Cup and runners up in the European Deaf Football Cup.

Became the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles, in 1981.

Qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor

Became Director of Quest for a Language, delivering, managing and liaising with both deaf and hearing students and developing a sign language curriculum, 1983.

Obtained a degree in Mathematics from the Open University, 1991

In 1995, Gerry became the first deaf teacher in Scotland since 1880.

Became Assistant Head of Donaldson’s School for the Deaf in 2000.

Became the first deaf skipper to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, in the Original Single-Handed Transatlantic Race, OSTAR, 2005.

Has played golf for Scotland in the World Deaf Golf Championships six times.

First deaf person to attain chartered teacher status (via Master’s degree) in Scotland, 2007

8th May 2013, arrived a Troon marina and welcomed as the first Deaf Yachtsman to solo circumnavigate the world via the Five Great Capes and added as number 201 on Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s list of  elite solo circumnavigators (


Awards and Honours


1980 - Won Clyde Cruising Club's Ferrier Seamanship Trophy for high quality seamanship in handling the crew and the boat.

1981 - Received Commodore’s Award, from Clyde Cruising Club (best skipper in the West of Scotland).

Named as the Spirit of the Corinthian, OSTAR 2005

5th October 2013 awarded Francis Maginn Award and Outstanding Achievement Award by British Deaf Association.

23rd November, 2013.  Awarded the Todrick Trophy, Coruisk Plate and Lifetime Honorary Membership of the Clyde Cruising Club

1st December, 2013: Awarded the first ever RYA Sailability Personal Endeavour Award on ITV’s Surprise Surprise.  The RYA Sailability Award was created in recognition of Gerry’s achievement

28th Feb 2014: Awarded Lord Provost Award, Glasgow Sports Person of the Year, 2013

28th March, 2014: Made Honorary Member of the Merchants House of Glasgow

2nd June, 2014: Appointed as an Ambassador for Yorkhill Children’s Charity

18th June, 2014:  Awarded Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Glasgow in recognition of his contribution to education, disabled rights and sports

29th November October, 2014:  Awarded Lifetime Achievement Award at Deaf Sport Personality of the Year (DSPY), 2014, Ricoh Arena, Coventry (the award was sponsored by the British Deaf Association).

9th January 2015:  Awarded Maritime Hero Winner in Old Pulteney National Awards

27th March 2015: Awarded Outstanding Achievements Award from Cathkin Braes Golf Course


For the history of Quest ll 2005-2007 please visit: